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June 17, 2009

Projection, Rorschach Tests, Fire in the Hole

The Rorschach Inkblots

The Rorschach Inkblot Test is a method of psychological evaluation in which subjects' perceptions of ten standardized inkblots are recorded and then analyzed. Some psychologists use this test to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients. (source). One of the key concepts in the Rorschach Inkblot Test is that we tend to project internal issues upon neutral, context-free images.

Freudian Projection

In Freud's concept of Psychological Projection, a person's personal attributes, thoughts, and/or emotions are ascribed onto another person(s) or object. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted unconscious impulses or desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them. Since Sigmund and Anna Freud collaborated on this concept, it is sometimes referred to as Freudian Projection.

I have taken the Dear Reader through these definitions because they may be assist in understanding my response to a construction project plan that came across my desk. I am not actively involved in the project, I just received a courtesy copy of the proposal.

Centralia, PA Mine Fire

Pennsylvania has more mine fires than any other state in the Union. We're Number One! The famous mine fire in Centralia, PA has produced an abandoned ghost town. The fire under Centralia is expected to burn until the fuel is exhausted, which will take at least 250 years.

Fire in the Hole

In southwestern Pennsylvania, there is a mine fire that is moving in an unwelcome direction.

The document that crossed my desk is a proposal to dig a trench lined with a special clay to block the progress of the local mine fire. The fire is burning in a level, horizontal underground layer, and so the trench must be dug to a point below the burning layer. The practical implication is that when the terrain rises, the trench must be dug deeper in terms of depth-below-surface, in order to produce a level plane at the bottom of the trench.

Because of the nature of the clay, the slopes of the trench cannot exceed a certain angle. So when the trench goes further below the surface, the width of the trench must increase to permit the sides of the trench to stay within the slope parameters.

If you're still reading this, I'd like to thank you.
So, to restate: when the terrain rises, the relative trench depth increases, and the trench width also increases. This is the picture of the topographic chart and trench proposal that came across my desk:

I am astounded that this was sent out with any snickering. Is it only me? Do I need years of Freudian analysis? Is a trench just another cigar?


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